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Friday, 27 February 2015

Travel part 1: the essentials

Tom and I spent last weekend in beautiful York visiting his sister, who's at university there. I'd originally planned to publish this little three-part set of travel posts before I left, but things didn't go to plan (do they ever?) so I'm just getting round to posting them a week later.  

Part 1 is the essentials - the things I like to take with me regardless of where I'm going or how long I'm going for. Part 2 will be makeup and cosmetics (yay!) and part 3 will be clothes.

Since I switched from a shoulder bag to a rucksack my back has been so much happier. No more aching shoulders, plus my luggage is easier to carry and feels much lighter.

Fjallraven Kanken is the ubiquitous choice, but if you can't (or don't want to) shell out for one, there are loads of great options at more purse-friendly prices. I recommend looking at as they often have rucksacks on sale. You can reserve items for free and collect them from the store the next day. I got my Vans bag there for £11.99 reduced from £40. Score.

Aside from keeping my neck warm, a scarf stands in as a blanket, a pillow, and an extra layer.  

Sports towel
Sports towels are really useful, They're much lighter and dry much quicker than ordinary towels. Perfect for interstellar hitchhikers too.

Great for exfoliating, makeup-removing, and freshening up.

If I'm travelling long distances, or even short distances where I think I might want a nap, I take a pillow. I take my ordinary bed pillow with a clean pillow case on (I take another clean pillow case for the journey back). It's meant I can nap happily without waking up with a stiff neck and it makes long car journeys ten times more comfortable. If I don't have room or a pillow, I take the pillowcases and fill them with clothes to make a makeshift pillow.

Toothbrush and toothpaste
I put a 'don't forget your toothbrush' alarm on my phone because it's so easy to just put it back in the morning. I managed to forget the toothpaste and had to run to the corner shop next door at bedtime.

Noise-cancelling headphones or in-ear earphones
Makes other people less annoying; makes me less annoying to other people. Everyone's happy.

Fill it with music, films, podcasts... internet connection is useful for checking where I need to be (I am frequently lost) and for intstagramming.

I often use my phone for pictures, but a camera gives better quality and more control over the image.

So important but so easy to forget. Also take an adaptor for non-UK travel. 

Sea bands
An essential for me, if not for everyone. I use theseTravel sickness be gone. 

Notebook and pen
For writing, recording, and planning. This is my favourite one - small enough to fit in my handbag and the pocket at the back is great for storing maps and postcards.  

A good book
The length depends on how long I'm away for. In terms of fiction I can recommend Anna Karenina for a long trip and The Book Thief for a shorter trip. In terms of non-fiction I really enjoyed 'Quiet' by Susan Cain, which is essential reading for introverts (and the extroverts who love them). The Very Short Introduction series are really great for a weekend away. There's one on almost every subject and there's a surprising amount of information packed in, yet the're so compact that they can be slipped into the fullest of bags. 

A refillable bottle really comes in handy and saves spending extortionate amounts of money on mineral water.  

(I didn't need my own towel as we stayed in a B&B, and Tom said my pillow took up too much space so I left it at home. I'm not still angry at him. I'm not.)

Part Two coming soon...

Thanks for reading!